I ran this with great trepidation. I had been looking forward to this race but things kept getting in the way. First I was on track for training for the half marathon; however, I got that nasty case of bronchitis that sidelined me. So I downgraded to the 10k.
Training has been spotty at best for a variety of reasons and, when Mr. Bear broke his ankle last week, it looked like I wasn't going to be able to make it. This week I was only able to get one run in - 4.3 miles on the treadmill that felt OK, not great. The other night Mr. Bear and I had a talk. He was scared I'd fall and hurt myself but understood I needed to run and, even if I didn't run, I needed to be at Gazelle Boy's first half marathon.
Knowing I had maybe 4 or so miles in me, I was conflicted. Do I run or not? I had some high hopes for myself - what to do? I decided to run figuring, if necessary, I'd take walking breaks. I was about right in my estimates about myself. Shortly after the 4 mile mark my quads said, "Yeah, you do realize we're not as used to this as we should be." So I walked a little. One thing that I did find out was my training theory was on the mark. During the walk break, a song came on that I've been running to on the treadmill and - when I double checked the iPod/Nike+ - it turned out that I ran at my treadmill pace to the music. So when I want to push myself to the next speed, I'll pick a new album and train to it while I run at the next speed on the treadmill.
About halfway through the race, an older woman began pacing with me. We exchanged some pleasant words about the weather (which was perfect for running), the race, running - you know the typical things you talk to folks about during a race. After a kilometer or so, she kicked up her speed and kept going. Just when I started walking during the 4 mile mark, a woman who had been trading spots with me up until that point took her walk break as well. When she found out I was only doing the 10k instead of the half she said, "Oh no, what will I do for pacing when you head to the finish?"
I said I'm sure she'd find someone and we chatted a little more before I took off running. The end of the race was a little chaotic. The fast finishers for the half marathon were coming in just as I was heading up the tail end of the 10k pack for the last half mile or so. Knowing my speed was never going to match theirs, I kept to the right of the road. Some of the runners would then pass others would grumble at me as they veered away from me at the last possible second. I know when you're particularly focused that a slow runner in your path can be frustrating but I had a right to be on the road as well and I clung stubbornly to it.
In the end, I crossed in 1:26:11 (according to my iPod). Which was pretty close to what the chip time was as well. Considering my initial goal was 1:15 and then my training fell down and I almost didn't run today, I'll take it. Gazelle Boy finished his first half in 1:58 and change. Not bad for a kid who didn't train at all and tripped over his own feet at the 11 mile mark. He may have sprained his wrist when he did that - so I guess Mr. Bear's fear was a bit of a premonition as well.
I will say this, it felt good to be back outside on the street. I'm looking forward to my 5k in a couple of weeks and will set up a training schedule for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler a month from now. I'm pretty confident I can cover that distance now that I have this 10k under my belt.